Why you should avoid flying United Express through Denver

You may want to avoid flying United Express through Denver until the airline sorts out some baggage issues there. 

According to various reports, including this one from the Denver Post, United is having terrible trouble sorting and hauling bags at the hub. "Our flight was a little over two hours, and it took more than two hours to get our bags," one passenger told the newspaper. 

That story is four days old, but from what I understand things have not improved. From what I hear, the ramp remains a mess, and even United Express pilots have been complaining. There are considerable United Express flight delays today in Denver, though I cannot for sure blame all of them on the baggage issues. 

What's going on? 

Well, as the Denver Post reported in a different story, United recently replaced the contractor it uses to haul and load bags for United Express flights in Denver. The new company, called Simplicity, took over last month. By most accounts, the people now doing the loading are overmatched and underpaid. 

I am sure United is working to fix the problem, but it may take some time. "We apologize to our customers for not meeting their expectations in this matter," Charlie Hobart, a United spokesman, told me in a telephone interview. "A lot of these issues were due to an unusually high holiday schedule. We expect things to get back to normal soon. ... We know there have been long wait times."

This is not an issue, you should know, for flights actually operated by United. United does not use contractors to haul baggage for larger, non regional jets. The people who handled bags for United are well-paid United employees with good benefits. 

As recently as three days ago, Simplicity was hiring at Denver, according to a Craiglist posting. Would you haul bags on freezing Denver days for $12 an hour?